I was delighted to be able to work with the Irish Deaf Society to secure the agreement from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. All Members of the Oireachtas can now claim for costs relating to language services (such as translation, interpretation, disability e.g. Braille). This now allows Members of the Oireachtas to hire Sign Language Interpreters for meetings and clinics with members of the deaf community.
Senator Mark Daly
I refer to your recent email to me about allowing Senators to claim the cost, as part of the Public Representational element of the PSA, where they use the services of a sign language provider when meeting members of the deaf community in their role as Senators.
I understand from Oireachtas that in the Audit Guidelines for the expenses that can be claimed under the Public Representational Allowance the costs relating to language services (such as translation, interpretation, disability e.g. Braille) is already provided for Deputies in the office utilities of a office or offices relating to a constituency office.
While Senators cannot claim for the cost of constituency offices as the nature of their role means they do not have constituencies on the same basis as Deputies, I am of the view that your proposal for Senators to be able to claim for costs relating to language services is a reasonable one.
I have agreed with Oireachtas that Senators should be able to claim for the costs relating to language services (such as translation, interpretation, disability e.g. Braille). Therefore, the cost of such language services may now claimed for expenses incurred on or after 1 January 2012 under the provision of hiring rooms for meetings relating to the performance of his or her duties as a member [section 5(4)(d)(v) of SI 84 of 2010].
I trust this clarifies the matter for you.
Brendan Howlin TD
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
For more on the work I do for the deaf community click here.